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Oracle will pay more than $850 million for Moat

A big bet on ad tech.

Oracle To Report Quarterly Earnings Justin Sullivan / Getty
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Oracle will pay more than $850 million to acquire Moat, a company that tracks digital ads, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Oracle announced its planned acquisition earlier in the week, but didn’t disclose a price. The company declined to comment.

Moat has had several incarnations, but most recently it has focused on its role as an auditor for digital ad buyers, where it tries to see if the ads marketers have paid for are appearing where they’re supposed to appear.

Both Facebook and Google allow Moat to check in, to varying degrees, on ads that run on those companies’ platforms. Google’s YouTube recently announced that it would work with Moat to help advertisers verify that their messages aren’t running next to offensive videos.

The deal hasn’t closed yet. When it does, Oracle says Moat will operate as an independent unit, but will be offered as part of the company’s “data cloud” suite of products.

Moat’s price tag is significant for a couple reasons: For starters, it shows there’s still an appetite for some big ad tech properties, despite investors’ generally gloomy consensus about the industry. It also shows that there are deep-pocketed buyers for ad tech outside of China, where investors paid big sums for ad tech last year.

Bear in mind that the two biggest players in ad tech — Google and Facebook — were unlikely to have bid on Moat, since the company’s value as a measurement company is based on the idea that it’s independent.

The Moat purchase is also a big deal for the New York tech scene, which has only had a handful of deals this size. Moat has raised a reported $67.5 million since 2010.

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